Thursday, October 3, 2013

Looking forward to meeting you, fellow mammal

Some time ago in my pregnancy, husband and I had a query - when baby is born, do they clean them up first, or do they hand them to you immediately, all covered in birth-goo?  And it turns out that yep, you get handed a goo-baby.  To non-parents this will no doubt seem utterly disgusting, but to me it has become a symbol of how gloriously real this whole baby business is.  I don't want an ethereally mystical, fantasy baby, nor an improbably cooing, smiling movie-baby - I want a real baby.  I want a goo-baby.

And today this fact has helped me face the reality that birth may not be everything I hoped for.  It may well yet go according to plan, but I have to accept that it might not.  I thought I was ready to take on medical intervention as necessary, but it turns out I wasn't quite.  While in theory, I have always believed that birth is merely the means of getting the baby from the inside of me to the outside, that the only measure of a 'good birth' is an end result of live and healthy mother and baby; in practice I had not accepted that my ideal birth might not happen.  I have been blithely expecting the birth of my desire: a 'natural' birth, in which my body takes over as if it has always known how and I allow it to just do what's needed.

I am still hopeful that this will happen, but it has transpired that while baby is ready to go, my body is not.  After assuming baby would be as much of a slow-poke as husband, it turns out it's my body that's being stubborn.  We'll work on 'ripening my cervix' and hope for the best, but the news forced me to face the reality of what accepting a change of plans would mean.  It forced me to deal with the emotions of not getting what I hope for, and I was temporarily quite upset.

A little art therapy

But then I realised that however this baby is born it will still be a goo-baby.  Whatever happens, baby will be introduced to this world as a fleshy, bloody thing taken from a womb, just as we all have (cue 'circle of life' medley).  I realise that one of the reasons I already love this baby, is simply that they are a fellow mammal.  When baby moves around and my belly terraforms in front of my eyes, it feels like there is a little alien inside of me.  But it isn't an alien, it is a member of my own species; not really a person yet, but 100% human.  And that is the most wonderful thing of all.